‘Self-care’ is not ‘Selfish’! Holiday Sanity Tips part 3

Today’s focus: Self-Care

They say that Christmas is a time for giving. But when did you last give to yourself? Not just a material gift, but time, fun, nurturing things? We often forget about ourselves and fret instead about the people we love. Are we not allowed to love ourselves? What if we were as nice and generous to ourselves as we are to others? What would that feel like?

In our first and second holiday posts we talked about how difficult Christmas can be financially and emotionally, and highlighted some of the problems we hear about most often at this time of year.  It can be VERY difficult to be upbeat, positive and jolly when we’re feeling emotionally, physically and financially drained.

When you fly on an airplane, the flight attendant gives instruction to put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others (even your own children).  As therapists, we often use this analogy when counseling clients towards taking better self-care.  If you run out of oxygen, you cannot help anyone else.

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You cannot give to others when you don’t have anything to give.

Here as promised are some self-care tips that we’re hoping will help:

“To you, lots of love, from you”.

gift to you

Nice things for you to do for you:

1: Buy yourself something small, (or big…) anything, wrap it, put it under the tree if you have one and WAIT until Christmas day to open it.

2: Arrange some time alone. This might seem impossible, but it probably is possible. You may have to ask for help. Maybe that’s the hard part. But would you do it for someone else? Hmm?? You deserve it too. Even if this is just an hour away for a walk or hiding in your wardrobe(!!). Preferably the walk though. Exercise does enhance the mood!

Another great read:  Thinking Out Loud: Teaching Children a Healthy Body Image When You Struggle With Your Own.

3: Call a friend for a chat. An actual phone call, not a text, not a PM, not an email. We have become accustomed to not making real contact with people. Social media is, for many, a substitute for human contact. The online world has its benefits of course, you’re online right now! (and reading this is great right? ;)) But it can become an isolating habit. Do yourself (and a friend) a favor and give yourselves and each other the lovely gift of real contact.

4: Give something away. Charitable work / donations, time volunteering or doing something for an elderly or ill neighbour – you choose. (Make sure it doesn’t compromise you – only give cash if you can afford it for example). We know now that giving things enhances our mood. It feels good to give.

5: Appreciate what you have. Take some time to look around and be aware of what’s working in your life, in your body. Gratitude is another thing that enhances our mood – let yourself feel it. We tend to focus on what we don’t have – has that ever cheered you up?

6: If you feel sad, and many of us do at Christmas, let yourself feel your feelings without being angry with yourself for not feeling ‘festive’. It IS an emotional time, especially if you are grieving or have experienced some kind of loss. So mind yourself and do not judge you. Would you judge someone else for being sad?

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“You are hereby ordered to feel happy and festive”

7: Ignore the TV. Seriously. You are going to be bombarded by adverts telling you that you ‘need’ things for the ‘holiday’ season. None of it is true. You choose what you want.

What you need is a whole other story and you can’t buy it from a catalogue.

Another great read:  Our old 'friend': Guilt

Indeed, you probably already have what you need.

We wish you all a healthy and happy Christmas – mind your lovely heads!

And again, a final reminder because we really, really mean it:

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